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ONLY Jazz Standard I Would Play for the REST OF MY LIFE

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"The Jazz Standards Playbook"

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So let’s imagine for a second that for some odd reason, you are stuck on an island for the rest of your life, and unfortunately, the rules of the island are that you can only play one jazz standard and that’s it. You can’t play more than one. There’s no supply of other jazz standards.

So, which one will you pick? Which jazz standard will you forever play for the rest of your life?

Well, I certainly know which one I would pick, so I am excited to share that with you in this video and talk about why this jazz standard is such a great one.

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How to Improvise Over All The Things You Are Tutorial

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


  1. Love that tune. I’m thinking Chega de Saudade” or Corcovado. What kind of guitar are you playing in this video?

  2. Love this tune! I’m thinking Chega de Saudade or Corcovado. What kind of guitar are you playing in this video?

  3. For me, Autumn leaves. It uses all seven chords in the minor key. Play it in every key. Major, minor, half-diminished- they are all there, as well as minor seventh, dominant seventh and major seventh.

  4. The words are superb. Have you heard the version sung by Peter Sellers in his bath – echo chamber simulation – on a sixties 45 rpm by the Goons?

  5. You make a great case for ATTYA … and you didn’t even mention the melody! Heavenly, with many of the same symmetries and interchangeabilities (new word) as the harmonic landscape.

  6. ATTYA is known affectionately as “All the Chords There Are” on this side of the pond (UK). I’ve been teaching it to my workshop students with the help of Brent’s Jazz Standards Playbook. If you can confidently play and improvise over this song in all 12 keys, you can probably get by pretty well in any other tune. My second choice would be Stella.

  7. This was my guess. The reason it’s probably the most played tune in jazz. I like Green Dolphin Street, but ATTYA is a better choice.

  8. One more thing that catapults this 81 year old masterpiece into being the best…Oscar Hammerstein lyrics. I actually quoted from this song for my wedding vows this past summer.

    You are the promised kiss of springtime

    That makes the lonely winter
    seem long

    You are the breathless
    hush of evening

    That trembles on the brink of a lovely song

    You are the angel glow
    that lights a star

    The dearest things I know
    are what you are

    Some day my happy arms
    will hold you

    And some day I’ll know
    that moment divine

    When all the things you are,
    are mine

    It doesn’t get any better than this.

  9. I would choose Manha de Carnaval, by Luiz Bonfa. The most beautiful love song I have ever heard, from the Brazilian opera “Orfeu Negra”


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